This Sunday, March 19, Tony Vaccaro will make an appearance at the Brooklyn Museum in a panel discussion about Georgia O'Keeffe. The program kicks off the museum's "Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern" exhibit at 2:00 pm in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium on the third floor.
Fifty-seven years ago Look Magazine sent Tony and writer Charlotte Willard to Taos, New Mexico, for a feature length article on this adventurous modernist painter. O'Keeffe put the two into private rooms on her "Ghost Ranch" for one week.
But Tony has no photographs from the first two days. O'Keeffe expected another photographer to accompany Willard and when she saw Tony, she gave him the cold shoulder. He politely kept his camera by his side. He fixed her clothes washer, leveled and set the drapes, and gave the cook a few days off by preparing amazing dinners: penne, sausage, and broccoli, and bistecca fiorentina. Then, one night, O'Keeffe asked Willard if she knew anything about bullfighting. Willard didn't, but Tony said, "I knew the great Manolete. I took his photo." O'Keeffe swiveled in her chair at the head of the table and faced Tony with twenty questions about the bullfighting master. O'Keeffe then ignored Willard completely. By noon the next day, Willard left for New York alone. Tony stayed on for the week and took ten rolls of film.
Tony became O'Keeffe's personal chauffeur over the second half of his visit, and he had his camera ready pre-focused on O'Keeffe and kept one eye on her in the mirror. One day, a desert cloudburst forced them to picnic in the car. When O'Keeffe looked at the world through her Swiss cheese, Tony lifted the camera and shot.
Tony Vaccaro's photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe will be included with many of his other iconic photographs in an exhibit during the AIPAD Photography Show, Monroe Gallery of Photography, booth #534, March 30 - April 2 at Pier Tony, now 94, will be present in the booth, please contact the gallery to confirm times.